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Localisations - MADE FOR ADMONT #photography

Localisations - MADE FOR ADMONT #photography

Localisations - MADE FOR ADMONT #photography

It was in 1997 that Admont Abbey began to assemble its collection of contemporary art. And this collection continues to grow... Most of the works have been acquired directly from the artists themselves, others have been purchased from galleries. Some have come from other collections or have arrived here as a result of donations or endowments. Within a very short time, an interesting situation developed as a result of the close and long term contacts that had been formed, primarily with the artistic community within Austria.

In 2000, even before the new Museum of Contemporary Art was opened, Lois Renner, then considered to be the 'star of Austria's avant-garde', was invited to become the very first artist in residence at Admont Abbey. Renner brought with him his model entitled 'Festung' – a 1:10 scale reproduction of his atelier in Salzburg – and the associated repertoire of miniaturised objects. He prepared a record of the mobile model in its new surroundings while continuously adjusting it to this environment. This also represented the point at which the MADE FOR ADMONT collection came into being. And this year, MADE FOR ADMONT marks the 20th anniversary of its inception. Over the past two decades, artists have been regularly invited here for a constructive discourse in which both parties are treated as equals.

In this connection, the concept of 'commissioned art' does not really apply. Instead, both sides take on the role of partners in order to bring their worlds closer together while interacting with each other – the aim is to put an artistic process in motion. And it is out of this encounter that numerous works of art have emerged over the past two decades. We find that we stimulate each other to the benefit of both sides. And a quite unique collection has been created as a consequence.

On display in our 2021 special exhibition is a selection from the broad spectrum of MADE FOR ADMONT photographs held in the Abbey's collection. These works are the result of what can be called a 'localisation' process; they all relate in some way to our region, to the Abbey, to those who live and work here and to the museum and its contents. In the MADE FOR ADMONT collection, the medium of photography plays a central role. And the monks at Admont represent the principal focus of several of the image series. At the time, Lois Renner prepared a portrait of the then abbot, Bruno Hubl, in the Abbey Library. Erwin Wurm's “Brothers & Sisters” photocycle was created in 2002, and was partly commissioned for Admont Abbey's museum. Two of Admont's monks agreed to act as 'One Minute Sculptures' for the artist. To mark the opening of the new museum in 2003, Rudi Molacek prepared a portrait of Admont Abbey under the title 'Admont'. Among the 100 black and white images are portraits of persons involved in the museum's artistic operations, other employees and, of course, the abbot and monks.

In 2006, Konrad Rainer took a series of large format, monochrome photo portraits of Admont's Benedictine monks – the technical perfection of these means that every tiny detail is visible, providing a near hyperrealistic effect. In the same year, there was further intensive interaction in the form of discussion and encounters between artist and Abbey in connection with Judith Huemer's photo series 'overall' (#1 to #4). In these images, only the surfaces of the black monk's robes are discernible. Identifying features such as face and body disappear among the drapery of the cowls. The work of Fabio Zolly is represented at Admont by, among other works, his contribution to our special exhibition 'Beyond Seeing – Art that brings together the blind and the sighted' of 2012. He photographed Admont's monks and employees in black and white holding up a sign bearing the words 'Copyright by Fabio Zolly' in front of their eyes. The whole can only be correctly construed when a blind person able to read Braille and a sighted person are together. For a monumental photo of the Abbey building, Zolly used a thermal imaging camera in order to depict the theme of energy conservation that is so important to the community here. The main focus of the photographic oeuvre of Robert Zahornicky is the interplay between library books and their deconstruction (by shredder!). It is thus not surprising that he has devoted himself to recording the bookcases of the Abbey Library, the shredding of unwanted duplicate volumes and the major fire at Admont of 1865.

The ten-part visual intervention 'Palimpsest' by Andreas Horlitz was on display in Admont Abbey Library in 2005. This was an ensemble of hyper-encoded, enigmatic photographs of items to be found in Admont Abbey. Two of these mirror-like images illuminated by lightboxes can be seen in the exhibition.

Over time, MADE FOR ADMONT photo cycles dedicated to various seasonal topics have also been created. The media artist Johannes Deutsch made significant site-specific contributions to the Admont exhibition 'Paradise – Snakes Not Admitted' in 2006. Also selected for display during this exhibition was his palimpsest-like triptych 'Trittico Paradiso' that quotes aspects of his own personal vision of paradise. Integrated in complex and multilayered ways are images taken from the magnificent Baroque textiles made by the Benedictine Brother Benno Haan at Admont.

Sebastian Köpcke and Volker Weinhold, who specialise in the photographing of collections, undertook a photo expedition to Admont Abbey in 2016 for the exhibition 'Good Enough to Eat'. Using a free interpretation approach, they were able to combine historical taxidermy exhibits in the Museum of Natural History with objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, precious volumes from the world's largest monastery library and the kitchen team of the Abbey to create unusual artistic still life images. The 3D-like photo installations of Hannelore Demel-Lerchster are related to the subjects areas – 'Paradise' and 'Eating'. She shows an apple sown together where it has been bitten into, generating a direct link with the wax fruits modelled in the past by Father Konstantin Keller and now on display in the Museum of Natural History.

Some time ago, the books held in Admont's Abbey Library were under threat by an extensive and destructive insect infestation. Cause enough for Edgar Lissel to also address the topic of 'Good Enough to Eat'. A specific characteristic of this photo artist is his use of biological techniques to produce his works, in fact, employing light-sensitive cultures of bacteria for this purpose. The three-section fish here in the exhibition was created using three circular Petri culture dishes in which bacteria in contact with the image were exposed to light.

The exhibition LOCALISATIONS provides insights into the creative processes behind major work cycles in the MADE FOR ADMONT collection. The images offer glimpses of Admont Abbey from unusual perspectives. They show the Abbey and its community from the less familiar side. We hope we've awakened your interest. Come and be surprised!

With works by: Hannelore Demel-Lerchster, Johannes Deutsch, Andreas Horlitz, Judith Huemer, Sebastian Köpcke & Volker Weinhold, Edgar Lissel, Rudi Molacek, Konrad Rainer, Lois Renner, Erwin Wurm, Robert Zahornicky and Fabio Zolly

Curated by: Michael Braunsteiner

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